Alberta Court of Appeal refuses to ‘unwind’ sale of house requested by resident without legal title

Litigant said his rights were ignored despite making home payments

Alberta Court of Appeal refuses to ‘unwind’ sale of house requested by resident without legal title

The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to “unwind” the sale of a house as demanded by an adult interdependent partner who was not listed on the property’s legal title.

In Fiset v. Feeney, 2022 ABCA 315, Keenan Feeney was ordered by a court to vacate his house in Airdrie, AB, after it was sold to a third party. Feeney and Lindsay Fiset resided in the house as adult interdependent partners, but Feeney was not listed on the legal title.

Feeney wished to appeal the order for him to vacate the house, but because he had previously been designated a vexatious litigant, he had to first secure permission to appeal. In deciding whether to grant permission, the appeal court was required to consider a possible abuse of process, the likelihood of the proposed appeal to succeed, and the prejudice that an appeal may cause the non-moving party, among other things.

After careful consideration of these factors, the appeal court declined to grant permission to appeal. The court found that the applicant did not have reasonable grounds and the likelihood a proposed appeal would succeed was not roughly the same as the likelihood it would fail. The court also found that the proposed appeal did not present an important question of law to be determined and any appeal would unduly hinder the progress of matters between the parties dealing with house-related issues.

Rights of adult independent partners

Feeney argued that the house was sold without an application for a sale order, even though he was a “50 percent shareholder” in the house and contributed to mortgage payments and developments on the property. He asserted that the realtor and brokerage who worked with Lindsay Fiset to sell the house should be made liable to the third-party purchaser who would be impacted by Feeney’s desire to “unwind” the sale of the house. Feeney further claimed that the chambers judge made an error by not giving effect to his rights as an adult interdependent partner.

The appeal court observed that, contrary to Feeney’s argument, the chambers judge was mindful of his potential claim, even though he was not listed on legal title of the house. The judge directed to hold proceeds of the sale after payout of registered encumbrances and the appeal court noted that this may actually make it easier for Feeney to recover funds pursuant to any claims that he may successfully advance as an adult interdependent partner.

No ‘unwinding’ of sale

The appeal court noted that the applicant ultimately sought for an unwinding of the sale of the house to the third-party purchaser because, as Feeney argued, the house should have been sold for more money. However, the court found that this was not reasonable and was not likely to succeed. The court also said that an appeal would unduly delay resolution of house-related issues between the parties. In the end, the appeal court decided to dismiss Feeney’s application for permission to appeal.

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